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Dominican Republic Aiming To Become Home Port For Cruise Ships

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The Dominican Republic has big plans when it comes to the cruise ship industry. The country, which is currently building a massive cruise ship terminal in Pedernales, wants to become a ‘home port’ for Caribbean cruises. With Cabo Port Rojo set to open in late 2023, the government has announced several important investments that will make the Dominican Republic a leading country for major cruise lines. 

Cruise Ship arriving

According to the latest tourism statistics, passengers visiting the country on cruise ships are on the rise in the Dominican Republic. In March, over 11,000 passengers arrived in Puerto Plata in only two days, and May saw a significant increase in cruise ship passenger traffic to the sunny island, as the country continues to see record numbers of tourist arrivals. 

Port in DR

There are several large cruise ship terminals currently under construction, as well as a few others that are being planned. The biggest one is Cabo Port Rojo – Pedernales’ flagship port – expected to open in late 2023. New ports are also being planned in Samaná, a major tourism hotspot, with terminals to be built in Santa Bárbara and Arroyo Barril. 

Cruise ship at sea

Officials from the Dominican government say that they are already in talks with some of the world’s leading cruise companies to offer the country’s ports for use. The Dominican Republic already has some experience with major ports in San Souci and La Romana. However, the country has been overshadowed by other ports in the Caribbean. With several large initiatives on the way, the government hopes to turn things around. 

The large-scale investments prove that the Dominican Republic is well-suited to become a major cruise ship home port. Its unique location and array of new infrastructure mean that it can conveniently handle a large amount of cruise ship traffic. 

Cruise ship view

“When looking at the history of our ports, we haven’t had a clear approach, we’ve had local investors, but there hasn’t been a government effort to capitalize on major cruise liners. We also want cruise ships to depart from here, just like other island destinations” says Jean Luis Rodríguez, the head of the Dominican Port Authority in a statement to Arecoa.

According to Apordom, the Dominican Port Authority, the construction of the country’s massive cruise ship port in Cabo Rojo is well underway. The first cruise ship is expected to arrive at the port on the 15th of December 2023. Aside from the port, the new terminal will host an array of entertainment options that will attract tourists and locals alike. In addition to the world-class entertainment offering – which includes a water park – visitors can also dine in some of the area’s best restaurants or enjoy shopping at the terminal. 

Cruise ship docked

Once complete, the region is expecting a huge influx of new arrivals thanks to the new tourism infrastructure being built in the area. New hotels, outdoor activities, as well as improvements to the region’s connectivity, are all in the making. The area, which thus far hasn’t enjoyed the same glamour as other parts of the country such as Punta Cana, is looking to become a major hub for tourism in the Dominican Republic. 

Dominican Republic port

The construction of the cruise ship terminal is divided into various parts. The groundwork has already been laid, a process which the Dominican president Luis Abinader oversaw recently. Afterward, the construction of the main terminal will begin.

The port is a major step forward for Pedernales, which is undergoing a major development plan to boost tourism to the region. Meanwhile, the Dominican government is working to create more investments for new cruise ship ports around the country. 

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